Exactly what does "Endangered" mean?

      You've probably read or heard that certain species of animals or plants are "endangered" or "threatened." But you may wonder: what does that really mean?
      On these BLM pages, the terms are not used loosely. They are legal definitions under the federal Endangered Species Act -- a law meant to help protect animals and plants that are in danger of extinction.
      For various reasons, many animals and plants are decreasing in number, and some are in danger of disappearing completely from the earth. In a growing state like California, for instance, development may cover over unique areas - areas that these dwindling species have adapted to and rely on for food, breeding grounds, and in fact, their continued existence.
      The federal Endangered Species Act was passed to help identify and protect those animals and plants that have been shown to be in trouble. California has an additional list of its own, for species within the state.
      These "special status" animals and plants are now legally identified in several ways:

Federal Endangered consists of animal or plant species, subspecies or varieties in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range. These are considered "Federally-listed" or "listed" because a final rule has been published in the Federal Register.

Federal Threatened consists of species, subspecies or varieties likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of their range. These are considered "Federally-listed" or "listed" because a final rule has been published in the Federal Register.

Federal Proposed endangered or threatened are those species, subspecies or varieties for which a proposed regulation, but not a final rule, has been published in the Federal Register.

Federal Candidate species, subspecies or varieties are being considered for listing as endangered of threatened, but a proposed regulation has not yet been published in the Federal Register.

California State Endangered animals or plants are in serious danger of becoming extinct throughout all, or a significant portion, of their range due to one or more causes, including loss of habitat, over-exploitation, competition or disease.

California State Threatened animals or plants, although not presently threatened with extinction, are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future without special protection and management efforts.

California State Rare plants or animals, although not presently threatened with extinction, are in such small numbers throughout their range that they may become endangered if their present environment worsens.

Bureau of Land Management Sensitive animals or plants are not on federal or state lists as endangered or threatened, but are designated by the BLM State Director for special management consideration.BLM-line
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